Monday, October 26, 2009

I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the Oktoberfests I have attended, but the snap of cool fall air, the scent of amazing German food and the lure of The Chicken Dance had me at oom-pah.
I was way, way too young to enjoy the dark beer, and I still have fun with my parents at tables under huge, colorful sycamore trees.
Several reasons merge to make October one of my top 12 favorite months (I confess, I love them all). The family moved the chiminea to the front walkway and burned our yard clippings while enjoying a festive glass of wine that’s apparently designed for the season. Clean Slate Riesling makes a pairing for German cheese, breads and ham, with its “ripe peach flavors, mineral notes and vibrant acidity all hallmarks of Riesling from Mosel.” It’s a supermarket find at $10.99 and feels crisp like an October apple in your mouth.
Seattle-area chef Tony Ruegg has created a recipe for eight using the wine.
Buy 8-10 Bratwursts from a German butcher. If not available purchase bratwurst from grocery. Make 2-3 small cuts with a sharp knife across the sausage. Put on medium hot grill, cut side up and grill until golden brown. Turn over and finish grilling. 
Onion Sauce
2 medium onions finely sliced
1 package Knorr demi glace or brown sauce mix
1/2 cup Clean Slate Riesling
1 teaspoon cumin powder
Salt and black pepper
Sauté onions in small amount of olive oil until carmelized. Add Clean Slate Riesling and cumin and bring to a slow boil. Dissolve brown sauce mix in 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cold water and add to onions.  Simmer for a few minutes (2-5 minutes).  Season with salt and pepper. 
Serve bratwurst with onion sauce.

I know secrets
Messages of love lost, childhood beatings, crossword puzzle fantasies and queries on faith make up the world’s artful messages to If you haven’t heard, people mail anonymous postcards to Frank Warren and many go on the internet. I’ve shown Frank Warren’s new book to several people since I met him at the Lamar State College-Port Arthur Distinguished Lecture Series. Most everybody is immediately hooked and says the project is “different” than how they thought it would be. See what you think about “POSTSECRET: Confessions on Life, Death, and God.

Skull or sweetpeas?
Kaycee Binns is a varied artist. A shiny skull or mud flap girl pick may tempt the Halloween shopper while her tiny sweet pea spoon is the ideal baby gift. The Metal Morphosis Inc. brainchild says there’s a childhood story behind every piece, so if you’re in Atlanta, you may want to meet the pewter worker. There’s some silver in her works, to give it shine. You would in no way call me a spoon collector, but I somehow have amassed an impressive set of tiny, baby spoons that I love to use for dessert (to make it last longer). My grandma called me sweet pea, so I love Binns’ vine-covered spoon by the same name. Visit to learn more.

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